During last year’s trip to Mérida, we stumbled across La Parranda, a funky restaurant/bar in the downtown area. With a few great meals and memories under our belts, we came back this year to gather a few more.
Literally translated, La Parranda means ”The Binge”. We did the name proud.
While roaming around the city, we had wandered past it many times. It seemed like your average, touristy kind of place…nothing to write home about. In the evening, however, it gave off a totally different vibe.
In Mérida, on the weekends at dusk, they close off many streets around the central square allowing the restaurants to spill out onto the sidewalks and beyond. It makes for a whole lot more ambiance.
The place has a load of kitsch about it…typical Mexicana abounds. The enormous sombreros are brought out with mock rifles so the customers can pose for cheesy photo-ops. After a few tequilas and Margaritas, it’s hard to resist.
The well-stocked bar that was responsible for this bout of silliness….
A nicely varied menu…some touristy favorites, but quite a few regional specialties. No idea why we didn’t grab some of the ”Mayan’s Cuisine”. Great reason to hurry on back!!
If you’re ever trekking around the Yucatán, Izamal is a cool little place to visit. It’s a short, half-hour ride, eastward
from Merida. Izamal is Mexico’s “Cuidad Amarillo” as most of the buildings are painted in vibrant shades of yellow.
After a couple of hours touring the sites, our guide directed us to one of his “favourite” lunch spots. His suggestion seemed a bit lacking, menu-wise, so we wandered up the road in search of some authenticity. We came across Los Mestizos, a small family-run establishment. Seeing “Comida Regional” quickened my pace considerably. Before I knew it, I was enjoying one sensational dish.
Mexico is a snacking wonderland. From the ubiquitous taco stand to a wide variety of regional treats, antojitos can be found virtually everywhere. Wikipedia sums up antojitos perfectly: “a Mexican street snack designed to satisfy a craving“.
Granted, our first stop isn’t “exactly” street food, but comes damn close.
As we were wandering the streets of Piste, near Chichen Itza, I had an intense craving for Pollo Carbon (Grilled Chicken). We passed by a few empty spots with some dodgy looking poultry on half-warm grills. After nearly giving up, we spotted smoke billowing from a thatched hut a block away. At the very front of the small restaurant an older lady was tending the grill. Three or four whole, butterflied birds were slowly being cooked to perfection over smouldering charcoal. Heaven.
Sometimes the best places don’t even require a name.
As we approached, salivary glands went into overdrive. I was literally drooling. I just stood there enveloped in the mouthwatering, smoky aroma. Looking around the few occupied tables, I noticed everyone was digging into a shared platter. As there was no menu and no signage whatsoever, we ordered a whole chicken.
The Yucatán region of Mexico is absolutely stuffed with a ton of amazing places to visit. Being constrained to one week, you have to narrow your list of sites down considerably. A must see is the colonial city of Valladolid.
Valladolid is a small city, about 50,000 inhabitants. If you’re into places that ooze history, this is for you. A stunning cathedral alongside a city square that could pass for a small forest. Young and elderly alike congregate on shady park benches munching on treats from a myriad of street vendors. We bypassed the vendors and wandered up a scenic, cobble-stoned avenue in search of Taberna de los Frailes.
This is an exceptionally beautiful town. At dusk, even more so. Two-hundred year old buildings newly painted in pastels make for a stunning streetscape.
After a half-hour saunter, we arrived at our destination.